Wednesday 23 July 2014

(vol 1) CHAPTER 24: “CampNaNoWriMo - Day 23”

A week to go and things are starting to pick up. I know I could be worried with 7000+ words still to write but all I need do is think back to NaNoWriMo 2007 when I had 6 days left and I somehow managed 21000 words. In fact on the 29th of that November I stayed up until 3am and managed 8000 words in one hit, crossing the finish line and allowing me to take the 30th off writing.

So I’m not worried. Yet.


So, despite a couple of days with nothing written, I’ve done a lot better, not just with the word count but with the plot too. There’s going to be a fair bit of rewriting come August but I know it is all making the story better.

I’m annoyed that I thought I was ready at the beginning of the month because, if I’ve learnt anything over the last 23 days it’s that I couldn’t have been further from prepared.

All my previous NaNo’s have started very loose and I’ve built the idea as I’ve gone along, never really losing momentum (except that first year when I ‘accidently’ bought a time sucking Xbox). But with TATTOO I planned and planned and planned; plot, scenes and characters. And all it did was fence me in and stop me exploring.

I would say I’m a panster but I still need a little planning before diving in; it’s clear that a little prep beats uber prep. I was the same at school and college. I found that I could over revise for exams and build up my own expectations. When I spent the night before just glancing at notes for half an hour I seemed to recall knowledge easier.

DAY 17 – 144 words

Although the word count is low it’s not a bad day but just me determined to get something, anything written down before going to bed. I finished the last chapter I’d worked on and renamed it Chapter 7: Fall Out.

DAY 18 – 1213 words

This was better. A good Friday night. Worked on Chapter 8: World of Hurt which was the explosive confrontation between Julie and Craig. He has seen the tattoo and is not too happy about it. I then decided to skip Chapter 9 which was another ‘stranger’ scene. I wasn’t stuck for what to write but I haven’t decided where he’ll be at that point in the story yet. I want to keep tracking back to him throughout as his journey closes in towards his target. So instead I worked on Chapter 10: Feedback. This brings the tattoo itself front and centre and is where things start to get . . . weird.

DAY 21 – 1768 words

One of my best days writing this month. Despite having finally typed up and edited the third draft of my 1000 word Dog Day entry (see Flash! Friday update below) I still wanted to get a little bit started on Chapter 11: Suspicions. So that’s what I did. I was tired and couldn’t really see how the scene would end so I only planned to set it up for another writing session. And then the main character, Julie, left her flat to go looking for Craig and I managed 1700 words in an hour. This scene has become the turning point for Julie. It’s the first time since she fell into the negative and abusive relationship that’s she’s stood up for herself. And it ends explosively.

DAY 22 – 566 words

Not much done yesterday but I go out to a pub quiz every Tuesday. With my son down for bed and the babysitter (hey mum) not having arrived yet I booted up the PC and started Chapter 12: Proof. This goes back to another Julie and Eleanor scene with the tattoo become something Julie wants answers about now.


Well it was inevitable that the wave I was riding couldn’t stay high forever. Last Friday’s entry, ‘Perfection’ stayed out of the headlines this time round.

I think I accidently paid too much attention to the Flash Point critique for ‘If You Go Down To The Woods Today’ with another story taken from a view point off camera. I honestly didn’t intend it that way and only noticed the day after I posted the entry. To be fair I struggled with the prompt and nearly chose to skip it for a week. I’m glad my friend convinced me to give it a go. And also, there were some absolutely fantastic entries that I was up against with Sinead O’Hart's entry, ‘China In Your Hand’, being extremely moving. It was made even more powerful by Rebekah Postupak’s critique in Mondays Flash Point.

With Flash Friday out of the way I spent the weekend with my attention solely on the Dog Days challenge. The day after the prompt went up a couple of weeks ago I had an idea that then drifted away and slowly became something else. I wanted to do something superhero related but it wasn’t working.

Something that surprised me was that the word count was as limiting at 1000 words as the Flash Friday is at 150. I honestly looked forward to having more wiggle room but I never found it.

So the story I ended up with went through several phases which included four boys helping an alien in their towns abandoned mine with the grateful alien then bestowing powers on the all. This sucked as I struggled to tell the story, explain the alien to four boys who had no concept of aliens as well as explaining ‘gifted’ powers. Rubbish.

And yet I thought I could contain it more by changing out alien for demon. This also did not work.

I was about to give up (it’s a running theme with me) when I suddenly had a brainstorm and I came up with the idea I finally entered. Much happier with it although I am worried now that the sci-fi super power element might ruin it and that I should have kept it more ‘real world’. Only time will tell if I made the right decision. Next week I will present the story and break down the decisions I made.

Meanwhile the judges will pick a shortlist of 10 tomorrow with the three winners then being voted by the readers and writers themselves. Have briefly looked at a couple and am looking forward to spending an evening reading through them all.

Fingers crossed for the next twenty-four hours.


This week I had my first negative thoughts to Scrivener but I’m thinking it might be part of the whole ‘over planning’ thing I mentioned. If I do go ahead and purchase it then I wonder if I will plan stories out with the corkboard and cast my characters on the first draft of future stories. It seemed good to start but it only added to the lack of freedom. I feel better now that I’m past all my planned chapters and going wherever I feel like. I also know that, when I come to rewrite, it will be the planned chapters that need the most work.

At the end of the day, the function of Scrivener I’m most interested in and looking forward to trying is the formatting and compiling. I’m hoping this will make it easier to put a finished product together across different formats with ease.

So, one week to go with CampNaNo. This time next week will be the penultimate night of writing. I hope I’m close to the finish line by then.

Big shout out to Dramatic Lyric and the rest of my Cabin. Good luck to you guys in the final week.

See you in seven.

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